Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday said he will not recommend any suspension of military operation (SOMO) against rebel groups this Yuletide season.
“No. I have objected to a SOMO. We shall not allow the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) to use a SOMO to celebrate their 50th anniversary,” the defense chief said.
Lorenzana's views were echoed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, in a press briefing.
"I think the Secretary of National Defense has already spoken that he is not inclined to recommend a suspension of military operations this Yuletide season. If the AFP is going to be asked, we are also not inclined to recommend a SOMO," he added.
Arevalo said firming up the decision is the fact that the rebels have not shown any sincerity in the previous years.
"We see that, in the past they, had not been sincere in any suspension of military operations, they continued with their terroristic and criminal activists, extortion, harassments, etc. and we do not want to give them opportunity to gather and mass up to joyfully celebrate their 50th anniversary (slated on December 26)," Arevalo said.
Despite this, the AFP spokesperson said the declaration of SOMO is always up to the President's decision.
"The question is, are we recommending, what we said is what the Secretary of National Defense has mentioned, and has already stated that he is not inclined to recommend, and it is the same for the Armed Forces. But of course, the President has the last say," he added.*PNA
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